First Thing Today (VIP) -- November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013 12:15 AM


MIXED TO FIRMER TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, November soybean futures are fractionally higher while deferred contracts are mostly 6 to 8 cents higher and wheat futures are mostly 1 to 3 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is weaker this morning.

KEY ECONOMIC AND AG REPORTS HIGHLIGHT THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON... House members are out until Nov. 12 and the Senate has a relatively light schedule this week, with the highlight coming on Wednesday with another hearing on the internet problems of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said lawmakers would likely be at least discussing farm bill matters in the coming week. The key October Employment report comes Friday and that is the day Fed Chairman Bernanke also speaks. On the ag side, Friday looms large with the Crop Production and Supply & Demand Reports due to be released, the first such updates since September.

USDA’S VILSACK: WHITE HOUSE ‘QUITE INTERESTED’ IN FARM BILL… USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack said on the C-SPAN Newsmaker program that the White House is "very interested and quite involved" in the next farm bill as House and Senate conferees have started their work on producing a final bill. He called on lawmakers to focus on policy, not numbers, relative to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But he did not signal what most expect will have to be the case relative to SNAP -- that the White House will intervene to negotiate the spending reduction level. In addition, Vilsack also predicted the final version of the bill will contain a conservation compliance linkage with crop insurance but acknowledged that means testing for the program could be "dicey" relative to the next bill.

FC STONE RAISES CORN, BEAN CROP FORECASTS... Friday afternoon brokerage firm INTL FC Stone raised its corn crop estimate to 14.367 billion bu. (161.2 bu. per acre yield) and its soybean forecast to 3.27 billion bu. (42.8 bu. yield). Last month the firm pegged the corn crop at 14.150 billion bu. (158.7 bu. yield) and the bean crop at 3.163 billion bu. (41.4 bu. yield). USDA will update its corn and soybean crop estimates Friday.

ATTACHE CUTS CHINESE CORN, WHEAT CROP FORECASTS... The U.S. ag attache in Beijing cut its China corn crop forecast to 210 MMT, which is down 1 MMT from USDA's September estimate but still record-large. The Chinese 2013-14 corn import forecast was left unchanged at 7 MMT. The attache cut its Chinese wheat crop forecast by 3 MMT to 118 MMT.

CHINESE MANUFACTURING SECTOR EXPANDS IN OCTOBER... China's official purchasing manufacturing index (PMI) rose to an 18-month high of 51.4 in October from 51.1 in September, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, private firm HSBC pegged China's October PMI at 50.9 versus 50.2 in September.

WATCHING FOR TOP IN CATTLE MARKET... Cash cattle traded at mostly steady $132 prices in the Plains late Friday, which was lower than many traders expected. Therefore, traders sense a short-term top may be in place. Traders are also watching for topping action in the boxed beef market with Choice cuts trading above $200.

CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/WEAKER... Packers are expected to open the week with steady to weaker cash hog bids. While cutting margins are very strong, market-ready hog numbers are on the rise as are slaughter weights. Therefore, packers shouldn't have to raise cash hog bids to attract needed supplies.

WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... Saudi Arabia bought 720,000 MT of optional origin hard milling wheat. Tunisia purchased 92,000 MT of optional origin soft milling wheat and 50,000 MT of optional origin feed barley.


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